What muscles do lateral raises work?

Done properly, the lateral raise is a great isolation exercise for the medial head of the deltoids (shoulders).

How to do lateral raises?

Start with your arms on your sides and dumbbells in your hands. Stand upright and engage your core.

Lift the dumbbells to your sides and as you do this, slightly rotate your elbows internally and keep them slightly bent. Stop when your arms are parallel with the floor. Pause then lower your arms down.

Video demo:

Pro tips:

  • Avoid swinging and rotate your elbows internally: this will help isolate the medial head of the deltoids.

  • Don’t go past 90° angle between your arm and your body

How to tell if you’re doing it right:

You feel it in the side of your shoulders. You don’t need to bend forward too much to lift the weight (if you do then you need a lighter weight).